Regular Life

Regular Life

In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on. – Robert Frost

First Best Friend (The Intro)

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First Best Friend (The Intro)

I am still in contact with my first best friend. Our relationship has fluctuated throughout the years, and he’s never met my nearly three-year-old son, but he’s still like a brother to me. The ride has been rocky at times, and jumped completely off the tracks once or twice, but we’ve always managed to right it and forge ahead. We entered into these rough patches without any confrontation, and without any knowledge it was happening.

Except for that time that I punched him in the gut, and maybe when I secretly schemed on his ex-girlfriend. Great friend I was, eh? More on that later.

First, a little background on what “best friend” means.

The term “best friend” implies that there is nobody more deserving of being called a friend. If one could choose a single soul with whom to form a platonic bond, this would be the person.

“He (or she) is my best friend.”

Children express this sentiment more than adults, and my toddler son says it of his mommy, his grammy and me, among others. Although older folks may not express it as often, they still hold in mind the notion that one person, for reasons often unnamed, just “clicks” better than anybody else.

Best friends can be found at school, at the park, or just down the road. They can live hundreds of miles away. For a rural child not of driving age, the mere proximity of a peer can elevate him or her to the top spot, but this can be a tenuous connection subject to severance at the first jingle of car keys.

For a child the title of best friend is fluid. It can change hands many times in the course of one day, given the right mix of insensitive name-calling and ego clashes. To a lesser extent, the same is true for adults, with more mature concerns like… well, pretty much the same stuff.

When I lived with my mother on the far central-western edge of Arkansas, I often made solo weekend driving trips back to my hometown. Inevitably, I ended up hanging out with my first best friend, Chris, and his girlfriend, who always fixed me up with somebody. I didn’t realize it at the time, but Chris might have been taking advantage of the fact that I reached driving age before he did. Whether he intended it that way or not, his old buddy Mark was the perfect taxi.

And, at least they threw cute girls in my path.

At that point, I had called Chris my best friend for 10 years. Even my hormone-addled teenage brain knew that things had become much more complicated than in the early days.

I’ve written accounts of many of our adventures together, but instead of laying them all out here in one chunk I will throw them out like random rewards. Or, periodic nuisances, as the case may be.

Though they may not always be in chronological order, I will start out at the beginning.

10 Responses to First Best Friend (The Intro)

  1. The beginning, normally, is a great place to start.

    And just a jibe in regards to your sidebar poll (wherein I’ve voted): where, exactly, is The Canada??

    Maybe it’s where wookie’s come from.

    (MAN, now that’s a dead horse if ever I’ve seen one, and damned if I can’t stop myself from laying into it with a gusto!)

  2. I voted in the poll. I would have put “Offworld Colonies” had it been offered.

    I have great stories about my “Best Friend’s” in the past too….
    All I know, is my current best friend (met him in 1989), is absolutely the tops.

  3. And to think, I believed that you and Simon were *true* nerds! In spite of all of your apparent outward geekiness (Star Trek, Star Wars, Firefly … and your techno-obsessions), I now find out you are ***Frat Guys***!?!

    True Nerds despise the frat guys and abhor greek culture! (well, not the history of Greece, per se… just not modern univerisy “Greek” culture!) You guys were the Jocks and … well, quite frankly … you had all the cool parties and got all the girls. I guess that’s why we despised you!

    My roommate and I’s idea of a “night out” in college was to blow off our Calc homework, and take my roommate’s ’72 Camaro over to Godfather’s Pizza and spend a couple of bucks on a “Spicy-sausage, Beef and Mushroom”. Then we would come back and hack into the dorm’s intercom system so we could listen in on the rooms on the female floors. Ahhh, the good times!

    (Yes, I’m still around … still reading your blog, although I tend to read in “batch”, every couple of days!

    Sorry to here about your friend’s injury. Hope he improves soon.)

  4. “Sorry to *here* about your …” oh MAN! DID I WRITE THAT? Crap!

  5. Simon – That was an attempt at humor. After writing “The United States,” it seemed funny to write “the Canada.” Like I said, an attempt.

    Have you seen the beef jerky commercials wherein the guys pick on a sleeping bigfoot? Yeah, well, that’s a wookie (as opposed to the more well-known wookiee.)

    Dave – Thanks for voting. My new best friend (besides my wife) is a keeper, too. Wait, that sounded bad. My wife’s a keeper, too. Point was, you can make lasting friendships later in life (although, mine’s a cheat, because we’ve known each other since about 1990 or so — but back then it was through a mutual friend).

    Jim – You stormed back onto the comment scene. I think my brother (who was in the same fraternity before I got in), will attest to the fact that I would not be called a “frat guy.” In fact, I was an English major, which is just as strange a fit for a fraternity as a nerd. Due to its origins (on that campus, anyway), that fraternity was much more cerebral than the others. I have no idea if that’s still true.

    My story is complex, but I decided to save it for a post. Long story short, I wasn’t active after about halfway through my junior year. I was tired of trying to fit into a system that I felt was getting farther from where I wanted to be.

  6. My own fraternity experniences started partway through university for me and I have as much to say to the culture’s detriment as I do to laud it.

    Frat jock (who got all the chicks) I wasn’t. And am’nt.

  7. Mark, it’s true that I forgot you were also a “Band guy”, which clearly overcompensates in geekiness for any possible anti-geekiness that being a frat guy could add to your status. Did that phrase make sense?

    I’m still waiting for some band camp stories:

    “It’s like this one time, at band camp …”

  8. Jim – Wasn’t in college in band, but still was plenty geeky. I went to band camp twice when I was younger, and had a blast. Most of the stories are funny, but The Mighty Finger, the only one I’ve written down thus far, was more about the struggle of social group splintering.

  9. I was in on some of the early Chris stories, but the ones after I was off in college are probably good too. I think my favorite one would be the pond mud-bomb fight. Since no one caught any major infections or lost an eye, it’s easy to remember it as being fun. Come to think of it, most of our activities probably should have included some sort of injury! The infamous “endo” was pretty priceless too. I look forward to the stories, as I’m sure there are some I’ve forgotten, and some I wasn’t there for.

    Man…these office days are great. Oh yeah, I’m supposed to be getting office work done. :-)

  10. I’m touched you mentioned me. Wait…you were describing me, right? I just realized you might be talking about your work ‘buddy’.

    I’m really not sure that the term best friend is the best way to describe the relationship we share. Perhaps the term homoerotic would be better? Just kidding. Seriously, I think the term best friend has more meaning in your adolescent years than it does as an adult. Or at least it has a different meaning. There are casual friends and there are good friends. Then there are the friends you think of as a brother or sister. Except for my wife, I don’t think of her as a brother or sister, even though I’m from Arkansas.

    I look forward to more stories about Chris, or is it C?


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